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iAffection Part Five

PART FIVE (FRIDAY):

The next morning, Ethan woke up to his grandparents brewing a coffee and chicory blend.

He slowly opened his eyes and removed his blankets, then stepped off the convertible sofa.

His grandpa was cutting up French bread and spreading some butter on it.

His grandmother was frying eggs and slices of chopped ham.

Ethan walked to the table where he was soon handed a plate.

“This breakfast should hold you up!” Ethan’s grandmother said.

“Eat up, Ethan,” His grandpa added in.

The three ate and then his grandpa said, “Since our retirement pension benefits were deposited two days ago, and all the bills are paid, I’m taking us to eat out for lunch!”

“Where at?” Ethan asked.

“The cafe` at The Downtown Grocer.” His grandpa replied.

“Tessa’s mother eats there a lot!”

“Try to stay on her good side, Ethan whatever you do!”

“Hey, how well I know, but good advice!”

Ethan’s grandmother gave them both a dirty look.

Ethan finished eating then drank down his coffee, chicory, and milk blend then his grandparents placed the dishes and cookware in the dishwasher and started it.

Afterward, his grandparents went into the living room and watched the news.

Ethan went into the bathroom and activated the mail client app on his iPod Touch.

He began writing a message to Tessa, “Hey. My grandpa is taking me and my grandma to eat at The Downtown Grocer cafe` later today.”

“Awesome. My mom and I just arrived at the hospital clinic and we are about to check in,” Tessa replied.

“Okay. I hope and pray for you to have good results.”

“You and me both! Now I have to sign in at the desk.”

“Okay, I have to start getting ready anyway, but just know that I love you and I want you by my side forever!”

“I love you too and you know I will be!”

Ethan got dressed and then sat in the living room with his grandparents as they switched between the cable news channels, adding their colorful commentary.

A few hours later they were all getting hungry, so they decided it was time to leave.

All three used the bathroom one after the other and then got into the car and drove downtown to go eat.

Ethan’s grandpa parked in the handicapped spot of the parking garage then they walked into The Downtown Grocer.

All three ordered a plate lunch.

Ethan ordered white beans with fried catfish and drank a Cherry Coke.

His grandmother ordered a shrimp po’boy and unsweetened iced tea.

And his grandpa ordered a platter consisting of field peas over rice, tomatoes okra and corn, and grilled redfish as the main entree and he drank an Orange Fanta with that.

As they were about to eat, fate aligned even more to Ethan and Tessa’s side when Tessa and her mother also walked into The Downtown Grocer Cafe`.

Ethan told his grandparents with excitement, “Tessa and her mom are here; I’ll introduce them to y’all”

He then walked up to Tessa and her Mom and hugged both of them.

“I was hoping I would see you here, that’s why I picked it. My mom and I always eat out somewhere after a doctor’s appointment.”

“What did the doctor say?”

“Everything is normal, I just gained a couple of pounds, but my doctor wants me on birth control more than ever now.”

“Well you could get as big as this building and I would still love you and yes I would still want you by my side forever!”

Tessa grabbed Ethan and stole a kiss from him, then replied, “I know I’ve found someone wonderful and I love you too and you can count on it that I will be by your side forever!”

Ethan’s grandparents were watching the whole time.

He walked Tessa over to them and introduced them to her while her mother ordered.

“She sure is pretty, Ethan, you have good taste!” His grandpa said.

Tessa blushed and said, “Thank you!”

“How did you and Ethan meet?” His grandmother asked her.

“Well, I just started at this school. I was given a voucher because my grades were so good. I was even skipped ahead one year. I sat near Ethan in English class, he passed me a note and the rest is history.”

“Now, if you’re that smart continue with it. I know you love Ethan but your schooling is also important.”

“Yes ma’am, I sure will!”

Tessa’s mother then left the counter with no food and said, “I’m sorry Tessa, but we won’t be eating out today. My card was declined.”

Ethan’s grandpa introduced himself and his wife to Tessa’s mom then said, “I’ll pay for your meal. It’s the least I could do. I mean your daughter makes my grandson very happy and brings out the best in him.” He paused then said, “I also completely disagree with the way the school is handling their situation and I’ve decided not to give them any more contributions!”

“Oh, thank you, Mister. I must admit that your grandson is very good to my daughter and he also makes her very happy.”

Ethan’s grandpa told the cashier, “Fill the order, it’s on me.”

He then paid the order.

Tessa and her mom were then handed four pieces of fried chicken, with a large potato salad and a large coleslaw. They were also given each a cup of Dr. Pepper.

All of them put two tables together and dined in fellowship.

All seemed happy, except for Ethan’s grandmother who had a look of discontent on her face and didn’t say much.

After the meal was over, Tessa’s mom picked up her leftovers to bring home and said, “Well, I’ve got to bring you home then I have to get back to work, but it was nice meeting all of you. Ethan, maybe you can come by this weekend and meet the rest of the family.”

“Thank you. I’d like that a lot!” Ethan replied.

Tessa’s mother then looked at Ethan’s grandpa and said, “Thank you for everything you have truly been a big help!”

“Well, I try, but we need to get home too before this weather gets even colder.”

Ethan and Tessa shared a sweet but respectful kiss, then they all went their ways.

As they were riding back home, Ethan asked his grandparents, “Well, what did you think of Tessa?”

“I think she is pretty and sweet and smart. You’ve got yourself a good one, there!” His grandpa said.

Ethan said, “What do you think, grandma?”

“Well, I saw Tessa and her mother eating meat on a Friday, if they’re even Catholic, which I doubt, they’re certainly not good Catholics.”

“Honey, for Christ sakes don’t start that garbage!” Ethan’s grandpa interjected.

“Well, Ethan asked me what I thought and I’m being honest with him.”

“Well if the entire Catholic Church is as corrupt as my school, I don’t want anything to do with it anyway!” Ethan said.

Ethan’s grandmother turned to him with a look of extreme anger on her face, as she said, “If you give up on your faith, you will pay for it for eternity, Ethan!”

“He’s right though, honey. Our church is very corrupt.”

“I don’t care how corrupt y’all claim it is, it caused me to live my life right!”

“Yes, under constant fear of damnation though!” Ethan interjected.

“Shut your mouth, young man!” Ethan’s grandma shouted with anger.

Ethan quickly stifled.

Ethan’s grandpa said, “Honey. Ethan is right, you know. Us lay people are commanded to toe the line but those priests do God awful things to children.”

“Well, my catholic religion has caused me to do good. I certainly wasn’t fornicating at age seventeen like Ethan is doing.”

“Only because you hadn’t met me yet. After all, I was at war fighting for my country. And just so you know the Constitution of the country I fought for allows each person the right to choose their religion.”

“I bet Tessa’s family has no religion whatsoever, though.” She paused then continued, “And what if you got her pregnant, Ethan? You might have ruined your life now.”

“Not so. She takes birth control pills.”

Ethan’s grandma became even angrier then said, “Now I know for a fact that they have no religion. Every Pope has condemned anyone who uses birth control since it was invented.”

Ethan’s grandpa became very concerned, then asked, “Did you use protection? Because if she’s on birth control, who knows what other guys she has laid down with before you. She might have given you something that not even Ajax can clean off.”

“No, but we were both virgins.”

“This is going to be a blunt question, but did she bleed when you penetrated her?”

“Yes. Quite a bit.”

“Then you need to marry her and honor her for the rest of your life!”

Ethan’s grandma then added, “And you better try and make her become a catholic.”

“Whatever her choice, I’ll stand by her. I’m not so sure if even I want to be a catholic anymore, after the way my school has treated me.”

“I cannot believe what I am hearing out of my own flesh and blood.”

“It’s his Constitutional right.”

“Then I am also guaranteed freedom of speech which means I can tell his parents what he is doing behind their backs.”

“Would you really be that cruel?”

“It’s for his own good.”

“No, it’s not. You’re just prejudiced against anyone who is not a catholic. I see how happy they are together and you know his parents will keep them apart and then they will both be damaged goods to any future partners of theirs. Let them be together and marry as soon as they are legally able.”

“But they need to finish their education.”

“They still can. Many of my Army buddies went to college while supporting their families after the war. Furthermore, Ethan and Tessa have access to birth control pills that will prevent any unwanted pregnancies as well.”

“Now you too, honey? If my parents were alive to hear you talking in favor of birth control like you are, they would have deeply regretted letting you marry me.”

“I don’t think so, I lifted you out of poverty.”

“Of course, you would say that, but just know that money is the root of all evil. Furthermore, it is very hard for a rich person to go to Heaven.”

“Well, let me remind you then, that the roman catholic church is the richest organization in the world. But here’s the hypocrisy of it all Rome wants to keep the average catholic family in total poverty by commanding them to bear more children than they can support and then giving all their extra money to the church. They just want to promote human suffering if you ask me.”

“Suffering in this life will bring rewards in the next.”

“Then why did you even marry me? Because through my hard work, I spared you from a lot of suffering, at least financially. So, I guess God will take away your rewards somehow because I gave you a decent life?”

“You did give me a wonderful life and I am forever grateful to you for that. But I lived right all my life, so I will have a lot of rewards!”

“Then if you are grateful to me, I would like some peace and quiet. That means don’t tell Ethan’s parents about this either!”

“All right, honey, have it your way. I will comply with your request but I am not happy about it.”

With that, they pulled into the complex parking lot, parked the car, and walked into the building.

Soon they were in their unit and Ethan walked into the bathroom with his iPod Touch.

Ethan checked his email app and saw he had one message from Tessa. It read, “Hey. I’m so glad we were able to see each other today and my Mom is very thankful that your Grandpa bought us lunch. Do you, by any chance, know the names of those two boys that battered me? My Mom wants to call the police and press charges on them. Write me back as soon as you get this message. I love you!”

“Hey, sorry, I’m just getting back to my grandparents’ condo now. Those boys’ names are Micah Messer and Fisher Aycock. When I get back to my parents’ house I can look them up in the student directory and give you their addresses as well. And just so you know, I love you too!”

“Thank you. I will tell my Mom and she will shortly be calling the police.”

“I sincerely hope justice is served, but I’m very much aware of just how corrupt everything is.”

“I know. They probably have connections and will get just a slap on the wrist, if that even.”

“I know this: I want to marry you!”

“I want to marry you as well. Hopefully, you can meet my family this weekend.”

“I hope so too, but I would have to convince my parents to let me come.”

“Couldn’t you take the bus?”

“I would have to sneak out and then the cops would be called on me.”

“Your family seems very uptight.”

“Oh, if only you knew.”

“That bad?”

“Well, my grandma came unglued because she saw you and your mom eating meat today.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“Oh, it’s some silly old catholic rule that says how it is a mortal sin to eat meat on Friday.”

“That’s why she was so quiet, then.”

“Bingo.”

“My grandpa likes you and your mom though.”

“I wasn’t raised catholic. My Dad was a Christian, but we stopped going to church after he passed away.”

“Well if you haven’t figured it out already, the catholic religion is very flawed.”

“I see how corrupt it is.”

“Speaking of that, we return to school Monday. We’re going to have to keep our relationship low key because they will be looking for reasons to write us up.”

“We can always meet up after school and on weekends, especially once you’re no longer grounded.”

“Yes. And hopefully, I can get my driver’s license, soon, but I have to convince my parents that I’m responsible enough.”

“I’m not old enough to get my license, yet, but even if I was, my Mom couldn’t afford to insure me.”

“Even though your grades are so good?”

“We don’t have the money, not even for a discounted rate. Speaking of good grades I have to catch up on my homework.”

“Yes. I have to do mine as well.”

“We will also need to do a lot of extra credit assignments to make up for the credit we lost while being suspended.”

“I know. I’m going to hate that, but it was worth it for you!”

“You’re so sweet. I love you so much!”

“I love you too and I want you by my side forever.”

“I will be!”

Both Ethan and Tessa began their homework assignments.

Ethan tried to work diligently, tuning out the cable news channels his grandma was watching.

His workload was very heavy, but little by little he eventually got it done.

Meanwhile, Tessa’s Mother called the police to report the battering that was done to her daughter.

In time an officer arrived at her house and she took down all the information. Tessa then gave a recorded statement.

Afterward, the officer said, “Those two boys will likely be booked, but I cannot promise that the charges will stick.”

Tessa then began her homework and studied diligently until dinner time.

She and her mother then each ate a Baquet frozen dinner together, which they heated in the gas oven, then they adjusted the antennas, then turned on the television set and converter box and watched some prime time dramas together.

Ethan’s Dad then came to pick him up from his grandparents’ condominium.

He drove Ethan back to the house in total silence.

Ethan continued the last of his homework, then ate a frozen pizza for dinner, late in the evening.

Finally, he went to his bedroom and locked the door.

He then connected through his next-door neighbor’s WiFi, logged into the email client, and then wrote a message to Tessa, “Hey. I’m back at my parents’ house. I don’t think that they know about our secret communications, but the door is locked, just in case.”

“That’s a very good thing because I miss you already. I’m getting ready for bed right now, but we could talk for a little while.”

“I’m getting ready for bed as well, but I wish you were in my arms.”

“You and me both.”

“I wonder if we will be able to be together at school, next Monday as long as we don’t show any physical affection.”

“Other couples get away with so much more, so maybe. If not, as you said, we can be together after school and on weekends.”

“Yes, money talks. So does athletic ability, unfortunately. The cop who came to my house said that those two boys will indeed be booked but she cannot promise that the charges will stick.”

“That is so unfair, but, even if they get away with it, we still have each other. Also what goes around comes around.”

“I hope we will always have each other. By the way, my mom still wants you to meet my family tomorrow if you’re parents are okay with you coming.”

“We will be together, as long as I can help it. And I would be honored to meet your family! It’s just I have to convince my parents to let me come!”

“My uncles might grill you, though.”

“Well, I will just have to make it crystal clear to them how much I am committed to you!”

“Oh, once they see that, they will take you in as one of their own!”

“I’m getting sleepy, but I’m going to mentally take you to bed with me!”

“And I’m going to imagine you next to me all night long!”

“Oh, how I long to be next to you, so close to you that I can hear your heart beating! I equally long to shower your whole body with kisses, until you fall asleep in my arms. And not only that, I desire to keep you in my arms throughout the night, both tonight and every night following, then wake up to your beautiful face right in front of mine. But until then, and I know I say it a lot but I love you and I want you by my side forever!”

“That was so beautiful, you really should pursue a career in writing! And just so you know, I love you too and I will be by your side forever!”

“I only pray that somehow we will see each other tomorrow.”

“Yes, I cannot wait.”

“Okay, until I will tell you good night and that I love you!”

“Good night and I love you too!”

Both Ethan and Tessa fell asleep soon after, longing to be in each others’ presence.

Back to “iAffection”

iAffection Part Four

PART FOUR (THURSDAY):

The next morning Ethan told his grandparents, “I am going to play on the grounds again if that’s all right.”

“What about breakfast? We have oatmeal and hot syrup,” His grandma asked.

“I’m not hungry,” Ethan answered.

His grandpa replied, “Sure, just remember to wear your coat to protect you from this cold weather.”

With that, Ethan walked out of the building, and down to the bus stop then boarded the next bus. The ride lasted about 45 minutes with all of the stops until finally he was dropped off and walked the final block.

Tessa lived in the suburbs west of the City in an old house that was very much in need of repair. He walked in front of the house and Tessa was waiting on the porch. She motioned for him to enter the gate of the hurricane fence. Ethan did so, looking at her and smiling lovingly. He walked up the steps of her front porch, where she met him and took him by the hand as they walked in. The house had two bedrooms, a living room a kitchen, a dining area, and one and a half bathrooms. It was very cold as the previous day, so they both made a be line for Tessa’s bed.

On their way to her bed, Tessa raised the thermostat of floor furnace to 80 degrees, then commented “Finally, we have some real alone time.”

They walked to her bedroom and were immediately taken control by their raging hormones.

Wildly they began to kiss each other as Tessa said “I won’t make you do anything you would regret. Still, if you want me, you will be my first.”

Ethan replied “I do want you, and only you! By the way, you will be my first as well. I want you, both now and forever and I will regret nothing.”

They teasingly undressed each other, then went into each others’ arms as they fell into Tessa’s bed making passionate love, both a little shy at first. After mutually feeling the climax, they cuddled in bed for a short spell then got dressed and afterward ate a meal of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Ethan looked around the kitchen and dining area and saw several take out bags from The Downtown Grocer Cafe` as well as their daily menu on the refrigerator.

As they were eating Ethan said awkwardly, “If I got you pregnant my parents would go nuclear on me.”

Tessa replied, “Don’t worry about that, I’m on birth control, you know, for just in case. It was my mom’s idea.”

Ethan breathed a sigh of relief.

Tessa then said “I know, I know, that would be the last thing I would want. I would be expelled from school then.”

Ethan replied, “That stupid school president would probably expel us if he knew what we just did. It would be well worth it though.”

Tessa asked, “What would you like to do now?”

“Cuddle with you some more,” Ethan answered.

They went back to bed and fell asleep together until Tessa’s mother came in. She knocked on the bedroom door while they were still sleeping in bed. Tessa woke up. Ethan jumped and went into a panic as he began to shake profusely.

“Just a minute,” Tessa nervously said.

Tessa opened the door and her mother walked in as she said “You must be Ethan Mays. I’ve heard so much about you.”

She then looked at both of them sternly and said “I can just about guess what you two were doing in there.” Both Ethan and Tessa blushed brightly. Tessa’s mother paused then said, “Since you both were intimate, I expect both of you to commit to each other and only each other.” She then looked at Ethan and said, “And all I ask is that you treat Tessa with reverence, respect, love and, kindness because she deserves nothing less.” Tessa’s mother paused and then said, “If you don’t Tessa has uncles who can deal with you.”

Ethan grew even more nervous.

Tessa added in “It’s all right Ethan, you are not in any trouble and you never will be as long as you do what my mom just said.”

He looked at the time on his iPod Touch and realized he needed to be back at his grandparents’ condo.

Once again, he began to shake with panic.

“What’s wrong, Ethan?” Tessa asked.

Ethan replied, “I need to be back at my grandparents’ condo before all hell breaks loose.”

Tessa’s mother offered to drive him back to which he agreed.

Upon exiting the car, Ethan kissed Tessa to which he said “I love you Tessa and I want you by my side forever!”

She replied, “I love you too Ethan, and I will be! I’ll let you know the plans for tomorrow, but I do have a doctor’s appointment.”

They simply kissed once more.

Ethan thanked Tessa’s mother for the ride then walked into his grandparents’ condo to which his grandmother asked “Where have you been? You weren’t on the grounds.”

Ethan decided to be honest and replied, “I spent the day with Tessa at her house. Please don’t tell my parents.”

His grandmother sternly said, “Well, I can about imagine what you and she were doing there.”

Ethan’s grandpa came to his defense and said, “Honey, they love each other and Ethan deserves at least some privacy at his age.”

“Too much privacy results in delinquency, honey,” His grandmother replied.

His grandpa pleaded with her, “Now you know I would have done the same thing if I was ever separated from you. We were young once. Can’t you understand?”

She replied, “I just don’t like going behind his parents.”

His grandpa corrected her, saying, “Even if they are wrong though? You know they are wrong, right, honey?”

“Yes, they are wrong, and the whole situation is wrong!” She admitted, then said, “Ethan you better marry this girl as soon as you finish college.”

Ethan replied, “I’ll marry her even sooner than that! She is so sweet.”

With seriousness, his grandma replied, “You need to be sweet to her as well.”

“Of course I will,” Ethan said with assurance.

“Why don’t we eat supper?” Ethan’s grandpa said.

“Yes, I’m very hungry,” Ethan said, then blushed afterward.

Ethan’s grandparents looked at each other, as if to confirm their suspicions, then began preparing a dinner of turnip stew and fried smoked sausages on the side.

Ethan went into the bathroom and messaged Tessa, “I love you more than ever and I want you to know that I want you by my side forever!”

A few minutes passed, but then Tessa replied, “I love you too and I will be!”

Ethan then typed, “I have a few free minutes until dinner is ready.”

“Okay. My mom ordered Asian takeout and we are waiting for it to arrive.”

Ethan then said, “Not just because of what happened today, but especially because of it, I want you to know that I am completely committed to you and you only and my goal for our relationship is indeed to treat you with reverence, respect, love, and kindness. I don’t want anyone else and there isn’t a woman or girl on this planet that can take me away from you! I just hope you feel the same way.”

Tessa replied, “I do feel the same way, Ethan. You make me happier than ever!”

Ethan then said, “You know my grandparents found out we spent the day together and I think they know what we did.”

“How did they react?” Tessa asked.

Ethan replied, “My grandpa doesn’t mind and my grandma was ticked at first but then she said how I better marry you as soon as I finish college.”

“How do you feel about what your grandma said?” Tessa asked.

“Honestly I’d marry you right now if we were old enough!” Ethan replied.

“I would too. You’ve made me the happiest girl there is!” Tessa proclaimed.

There was a knock on the door and Ethan’s grandpa said, “I have to use the tur-let again. Dinner is almost ready.”

“My grandpa has to use the bathroom so I have to go now. I love you and I want you by my side forever!” Ethan messaged her.

“Okay. Enjoy your dinner. I love you too and I will be!” Tessa replied…

Ethan went into the kitchen and ate dinner with his grandparents.

There was much tension in the air and very awkward silence as they ate.

Afterward, Ethan’s grandparents went into the living room and watch the cable news channels in total silence.

Finally, they went to sleep.

As soon as they closed the bedroom door, Ethan pulled out his iPod Touch and logged into the email client.

There was just one message, “Hey Ethan, I cannot wait to talk again. Message me when you are able. I love you!”

Ethan quickly typed a reply message, “I’m available now, Tessa, and I love you too!”

Tessa instantly answered, “We can talk for a little while, but I have to get some sleep tonight because tomorrow I see my doctor.”

“What for? Are you okay?” Ethan inquired.

“Yes, I’m okay. My weight and my blood levels just need monitoring because of these birth control pills. They could make me gain more weight. I hope you would still want me if that happened.”

Quickly and with much assuredness, Ethan replied, “Of course I would still want you! Yes, I think you are beautiful just as you are, but to me, your size isn’t an issue. Your soul is beautiful and that is what I am in love with most of all.”

Tessa then replied, “Would you still be attracted to me though?”

Ethan frantically typed the words in hopes to comfort and assure Tessa of his love for her, “Yes I definitely would. I’m weird and I’m not like most guys. I never wanted to lay down with a girl just because I thought she was hot. I’ve always wanted to lay down with a girl who treats me right and loves me for me, with all my flaws included. That’s why I gave myself to you and that is why I want you forever. Besides, I think your chubbiness makes you sexy as hell! I’m almost sure you want me for me and not my status as a rich kid.”

Tessa replied, “I want you because you have a very pure and equally kind heart. And I want you more than ever now!”

Ethan then said, “I know my parents and grandparents want me to finish high school and college, but I want to marry you as soon as you are legally able. That would mean when I am twenty and you are eighteen.”

“Yes. I would want that too! You’re making me the happiest girl ever!”

Ethan then said, “Well you know, I do love you!”

Tessa replied, “I love you too!”

“And you also know, I’m sure, that I want you by my side forever!”

“Yes, I know. And I will be!”

There was a silence as both were getting sleepy.

Ethan then asked, “Is it all right if we sign off for the evening? I’m getting tired.”

Tessa replied, “Yes that’s fine. I just wanted to let you know that these pills could make me keep gaining weight and I was worried you would break up with me. I needed to tell you that because I wanted to make sure you would still want me. Now that I know that I can sleep easy.”

Ethan then said, “You can know this with certainty that I want you, no matter what. You can take it to the bank and cash it!”

Tessa replied with happiness, “I know.”

Ethan then said, “Don’t ever forget it, either!”

“Oh, how I wish I was in your arms right now, Ethan!” Tessa proclaimed.

“Me too!” Ethan replied.

“Well, we both need our sleep. So let’s say good night,” Tessa typed out.

Ethan then decided to write a message of good night tidings to her, “I cannot wait until the time when we can say good night and still be in each others’ arms all night long. This is me giving you a good night kiss and tucking you in! This is me wishing I was cuddling with you throughout the night. And most importantly, this is me wishing I was there to wake up and see your beautiful face, not just tomorrow morning but every morning after that for the rest of my life! I love you and I want you by my side forever! Good night, Tessa.”

Tessa then replied, “That was so sweet! You could be a writer, you know! And by the way, I love you too and I will be! Good night Ethan!”

Both fell asleep in a state of bliss.

Back to “iAffection”

iAffection Part Three

PART THREE (WEDNESDAY):
The next morning Ethan woke up to the preparation of breakfast. He got up, fixed the convertible sofa, and walked to the table as a breakfast of grits and pork sizzlers were being set upon it.

Over the course of breakfast, Ethan asked his grandparents “Could I go on the grounds of the complex and get some exercise?”

His grandpa replied, “Sure, hey, you should be active.”

Ethan nodded, got dressed, and grabbed his hidden iPod Touch. He then walked out the door, through the corridor, and rode an elevator down to the lobby where he walked out to the grounds. Even outside, he could still pick up the WiFi signal.

He messaged Tessa, “I am waiting for you outside the grounds of the complex. I love you and I cannot wait to see you.”

Tessa replied, “I’m on my way and I love you too.”

A half-hour passed by when finally the city bus stopped in front of the complex and out stepped Tessa. Ethan’s eyes were fixated on her like they were the day he first met her. They simply walked up to each other and hugged in the raw January weather.

They held each other for a short while when Ethan said, “Best we go where no one tied with the school can see us.”

Tessa nodded in agreement.

They walked back to the grounds and sat on a bench holding hands as Tessa said, “I cannot believe they suspended us for something so innocent.”

Ethan replied, “Money talks.”

Tessa said, “I missed you so much, Ethan.”

He replied, “And I missed you too; but if all goes well, we’ll be able to be alone together without the school people bothering us for the next few days. We are beating those control freaks at their own game.”

Tessa smiled and nestled her face into Ethan’s chest.

Far into the day they laughed and talked to each other while sitting on the bench, until the hour of noon. Hunger pains were setting in for both of them, so Tessa reached into her backpack, and they ate Hot ‘N’ Spicy Cheeze It crackers from a sealed bag in Tessa’s backpack and drank tomato soup from a Thermos. Afterward, they each drank a can of Wild Cherry Pepsi.

After eating their lunch, Ethan asked Tessa, “Could I push you on the swing?”

She nodded with happiness.

Ethan continued to swing Tessa until the temperature began to drop. The cold was setting in and they had nowhere to go, but stand by the brick wall, which fenced in the complex for privacy and security purposes. They stood there shivering and laughing in the bleakness. Ethan leaned over to kiss Tessa, to which she responded with open arms.

She passionately kissed Ethan all over his face, then grabbed his coat and pulled him towards her as she said, “I don’t want this moment to ever end.”

Ethan replied, “Neither do I, Tessa.”

Tessa then said, “Take me into your arms, and don’t let go.”

They held each other and spun around in circles.

He held her in his arms by her waist and then wrapped his legs around hers as they sat down.

The temperature was now near freezing. Despite the bitter, biting cold, they stayed there until the alarm clock application on Tessa’s cell phone went off.

Sadly Tessa said, “I am so sorry Ethan but I have to catch the bus to go back home. Will you walk me to the bus stop?”

Calmly Ethan nodded and he escorted her to the bus stop. The city bus pulled up and stoped. Ethan and Tessa kissed each other a loving goodbye, then Tessa boarded the bus. As the bus took Tessa away, Ethan went inside and laid down on the convertible sofa. He covered up in a thick blanket. Meanwhile, Tessa was riding the bus back to her mother’s house. Upon arrival, she also went inside and covered up in a thick blanket on her bed and fell into a deep sleep, dreaming of Ethan.

The hour of seven pm was near and Ethan’s grandparents’ were putting dinner on the table. it consisted of baked chicken, shell pasta covered with cheddar, and steamed broccoli. The three ate in silence. Ethan tried his best to hide the smile on his face.

At the same time, Tessa’s mother walked into the bedroom where she was sleeping and began to talk to her, “How was your day today, Tessa?”

Tessa replied, “I had a great day.”

“What all happened today?” Her mother asked.

And then there was a silence, to which her mother asked “Is something wrong?”

Tessa then replied, “Nothing is wrong.”

“Then what is going on?” Her mother asked.

Tessa replied, “All right I will tell you, but don’t freak out.” She paused then continued, “I spent the day with Ethan. He keeps in touch with me through the Internet. He purchased an iPod Touch and uses the WiFi feature on it. He sends emails that are forwarded to my phone. Today we met at his grandparent’s condo.”

Her mother was momentarily shocked, but then asked, “And what did you two do?”

Tessa replied, “We ate the lunch I prepared. We swung on the swings, we danced around in circles, holding each other, then we cuddled in each others’ arms on the grounds.”

Her mother then said “Well, Ethan does seem sweet, but try not to be seen with him in public. You know that could get in more trouble with school officials.”

Tessa then asked, “So you are cool about Ethan?”

“I guess,” Her mother replied, and continued “From what you tell me about him, I guess he sounds like a good person and he makes you happier than I’ve seen you in years.”

“Could I see him again, tomorrow?”

“You may, but just remember what I said about being seen in public,” Her mom cautiously said, then continued, “Now I have some spaghetti, garlic bread, and a salad for us.”

“Yay!” Tessa said as she was quite hungry.

Tessa and her mother happily ate dinner together.

At the condo, there was an awkward silence as they continued eating. Fortunately, Ethan’s grandparents did not question him of what went on during the day. The meal was soon over and Ethan went hide in the bathroom to message Tessa, “I had a wonderful time with you today and I only hope for more days such as this. I long for the day when we can be together all the time!”

Her phone buzzed and beeped, which woke her up and she messaged him back, “I missed you after I had to board the bus today, and I still miss you. I would move stars and planets to be cuddling with you right now.”

Ethan replied, “I miss you too, and this is misery not having you here with me.”

Tessa replied, “Well I have some good news, my mom knows that we were together today and she was completely fine about it. She also said that we can hang out tomorrow as long as we’re not seen in public, that way the school officials won’t find out.” Tessa messaged Ethan again “Do you still have any money left over?”

Ethan replied, “Yes, why?”

Tessa messaged him back, “I was thinking you could come to my house. Could you take the bus there? I want to cuddle with you.”

Ethan then replied, “That sounds awesome, we can be out of the cold, and still be together.”

With anxiety, Tessa then texted, “Please don’t judge me because of the condition of the house. I’m very poor!”

Ethan replied, “Of course not Tessa, I love you too much to worry about stuff like that!”

A great relief came over her and she then replied, “Well I can’t wait for you to come then. I’ll see you tomorrow and I love you, Ethan.”

She also texted him her address.

Ethan messaged her, “I love you too and I want to you by my side forever!”

“I will be!” Tessa replied with much assurance.

Soon, both of them were asleep.

Back to “iAffection”

iAffection Part Two

PART TWO (TUESDAY):
Morning came, both got ready and sent each other their affectionate good morning texts, along with plans on where to meet before the first bell.

Upon arrival; they walked the grounds hand in hand, as Tessa looked Ethan, then asked “You were serious about what you said to me, last night, right?”

Gently he hugged her and gave her a long loving kiss as he said “Of course I was, you have made me so happy.”

Tessa simply hugged him; then rested her head against his chest, as she spoke “I don’t ever want to lose you!”

Ethan replied, “Most definitely, you won’t!”

Both had truly genuine feelings for each other but were afraid of heartbreak to happen. However, the soon upcoming series of events would prove the validity of the feelings they held for each other.

A duty teacher saw them together and started to hand down the school’s fascist roman catholic policies on them.

“Separate Immediately!” The teacher commanded, angrily, then continued, “This holy school is no place for that kind of behavior. If it happens again, I will see to it that you both get a suspension. Now, both of you get out of here.”

Both sulked going in separate directions. It was no sooner than Tessa had been separated from Ethan when Fisher Aycock and Micah Messer were eying on her. They were maliciously planning to embarrass her.

One said to the other, “Look it’s that fat and nerdy girl who was forced to sit by us.”

The other one said, “I have an idea.”

He whispered then, they surrounded her. Fisher grabbed her breasts and Micah lifted her skirt. She slapped both of them and they let her go. Mortified she ran away in tears. The same teacher that had unjustly separated her from Ethan, also witnessed her getting harassed and did nothing. The highly corrupt administration had instructed teachers not to discipline students with financial and athletic influence. Unfortunately, these two boys had both. Rather, the teacher followed Tessa from a distance, watching her. She knew she would be seeking out Ethan.

In secrecy, that hateful duty teacher watched as Tessa told Ethan of the event that just unfolded. Ethan simply held her and kissed her gently on the forehead, then asked her, “Are you all right?”

She replied, “Yes, I will be now that you are holding me.” Tessa paused for a second then continued, “I want to always be holding you close to me.”

Ethan looked into her eyes and said “You will be if I have anything to do about it.”

She clung to him silently as he spoke “If we get caught like this we will get suspended.”

“If we did, it would be more than worth it,” Ethan replied, then continued, “My parents would take my phone away from me, but we could keep in touch on-line. I can text you my email address and I can email your phone through the email to SMS gateway.”

“Just keep holding on to me me, Ethan, don’t ever let go!” Tessa softly said.

“I will never let go,” Ethan replied as he kissed her.

They lovingly continued to hold each other when that wretched duty teacher came out of the hiding place and said with a fit of authoritarian anger, “Did I not just tell you two that this holy school is no place for that kind of behavior?”

Boldly, Ethan answered, “Do you not realize what just happened to Tessa? I was only trying to comfort her.”

“SILENCE!” The teacher shouted, then continued, “Considered both of yourselves suspended. You both may not return to school until further notice.”

Ethan and Tessa were separately escorted into the disciplinary office, then were held in separate empty rooms until the buses came.

The teacher came to Ethan and said, “Oh and just so you know, I will have the school president instruct your parents to ground you from the Internet as well as the phone.”

Ethan’s heart sank as all of his communications links to Tessa would be jammed. It just so happened, however, that Ethan had received plenty of cash for Christmas. He kept the cash in a locked box in his bedroom. Ethan also knew how ignorant to technology his parents were. He then fabricated the plan to covertly purchase an iPod Touch and use the WiFi feature. Ethan knew he could connect to several gateways throughout the city. He knew this could be done completely undetected by his parents or school staff. When the day was over and the dismissal bell rang, they boarded the buses. Both were filled with anxiety about how their parents would react.

Upon arrival at his parents’ house, Ethan called Tessa and said, “Hey, my cell phone and netbook will probably be taken from me. I do have an idea on how we can keep in touch.”

“How is that?” She asked.

“I can secretly buy an iPod touch, and use the WiFi feature. I am sure there are some WiFi access points in the City that I can use, to communicate with you.” Ethan paused then asked, “How will your mom react?”

Tessa replied, “I don’t know. She is glad I found you, but she is still leary and won’t like the fact that you got us suspended.”

Ethan then told Tessa, “Tell her exactly what happened. Tell her that I was holding you to comfort you because of what those two jocks did.”

Tessa replied, asking, “I will try, but I have a question. How can you afford an iPod touch?”

“That’s easy; I can use the money I got for Christmas. It’s all cash, so no one will ever see the purchase on any statement,” Ethan answered with assurance.

“That’s a wonderful plan, Ethan.” Tessa replied then continued “When will you buy your iPod?”

“As soon as I can get a ride to a store like Target.”

“Just be my one and only,” Tessa said with her heart on her sleeve.

“I always will. I promise you that and I wish I was there to seal that promise with a sweet kiss on your soft lips,” Ethan said with happiness. He heard footsteps so he quickly said, “Someone is coming. I have to go. Just know with certainty that I want you by my side forever!”

“I will be, as long as I can help it!” Tessa replied with sincerity.

They hung up immediately after saying their loving goodbyes. Thinking quickly, Ethan text-messaged his email address to her phone and instructed her to send a text message to it from her phone.

The footsteps Ethan heard were of his mother as she approached him and said, “I just got off the phone with your school president.” Her anger was escalating as she continued, “He told me you and some girl were carrying on inappropriately.” She paused again then continued, “Give me your cell phone and your netbook. You will not get them back until further notice. You should know that public displays of affection are not allowed.”

Ethan replied “That is not how it went down. I bet that corrupt school president didn’t say how she was sexually harassed by two jocks and I was simply comforting her.”

His mother angrier and said “Oh shut your mouth. How dare you call the school president corrupt. Why are you always acting seditiously?”

“I’m simply telling the truth. Anyone at my school who is rich or an athlete and especially both gets away with anything and everything. Those two rich jocks were grabbing her breasts and lifting her skirt. All I did was hold her and kiss her.”

“Regardless; you are hot a hero and you blatantly broke the rules and now you will be grounded.”

“I know I’m not a hero, but I think I have the right to comfort her, I mean she is my girlfriend.”

“You don’t need a girlfriend. You need to focus on your schooling. Speaking of that, I want you to study during your undeserved vacation.” Ethan sulked, then walked away from her.

Ethan knew now what had to be done; he needed to purchase that iPod touch. He went up to his bedroom scheming a plan to get to a store and covertly make the purchase.

As Ethan was sitting on the bed, his dad walked into the room and asked, “You want to tell me what is going on at school.”

Rolling his eyes, Ethan explained the situation in full.

Understandingly his dad replied, “Well, there is nothing wrong with you having a relationship. I also understand that you were trying to comfort her, which is very noble. However, you broke the school rule of no physical affection and you got suspended. Your mom and I have decided that you will spend your suspension at your grandparents’. You will do as they say and I expect you to spend your time wisely. Now pack your stuff and I will drive you there.”

Ethan nodded in agreement. He placed several changes of clothes, his cash, and a few small possessions in his backpack. His dad then walked him to the car.

Meanwhile, Tessa’s mom walked to her bedroom. Tessa explained the situation to her to which resulted in mixed emotions.

Her mom said “Tessa, I want you to be careful with him. He might be trying to get in your panties and then leave you. Just because you’re on birth control doesn’t mean you can’t get hurt.”

Tessa replied, “Ethan is not like that at all, I am almost sure he is innocent and not just a player.”

Her mother then said, “Well, make sure of that before you do anything you might regret.” She paused, then continued “What about those two boys that were harassing you? Were they dealt with?”

Tessa replied “Nope.” She paused then continued “They are rich and they are athletes, so they get away with anything and everything.”

Her mom said with anger, “I would love to kick their butts.”

Tessa replied, “Well, then you would have to face a judge, with whom they probably have connections.”

Her mom replied, “You’re right. I know you are probably well aware of it, but that’s just more proof that life is unfair. However, as long as we have each other; that is what matters.”

“What about Ethan?” Tessa asked.

Her mom replied, “We’ll see.”

With that; they ate the plate dinners of Salisbury steaks, mashed potatoes, green beans, and each a pistolette that her mom had purchased from The Downtown Grocer Cafe`.

Ethan and his dad rode to the condominium complex, where he noticed a sign that read “FREE WiFi.” He smiled and realized that fate seemed to be on his side. He walked up to their room where they welcomed him in. Ethan explained the situation exactly as he told his dad.

His grandpa said, “Hey, I think someone is in love.”

His grandma added, “I just don’t understand the school system these days.”

His grandpa then asked, “Whatever happened to those good for nothing punks who battered her?”

Ethan replied, “Nothing happened at all. Don’t you know if someone at my school is rich or an athlete, the rules don’t apply to them.”

His grandpa remarked, “Well I don’t think we need to make any more donations to that school.” He paused, then continued, “But I know where I am going; to the Super Target. I need to go make some groceries.”

His dad said, “Well I better get going too.” He paused, looking at Ethan and then said, “Remember what I told you.”

Ethan simply nodded in agreement.

After his dad left, Ethan asked, “Grandpa, could I ride with you?”

He knew this was his chance to purchase the iPod touch.

His grandpa replied “Well sure, I don’t see why you should be punished, to begin with. This will be our little secret.”

Ethan’s grandma gave them both a dirty look and with that, they left.

When they arrived; Ethan asked, “Can I check out the electronics department, while you go make groceries?”

“Sure,” His grandpa replied and continued “Just meet me back by the car in half an hour.”

Ethan nodded and with that, he walked to the electronics section.

He looked at the glass counter and said to the clerk “One iPod Touch please.”

The clerk reached under the glass counter pulled it out and scanned it.

He then quoted the price, “That will be $245.20.”

Ethan pulled out $250 handed it to the clerk and said “Keep the change.” The clerk printed out a receipt and handed him the iPod.

Ethan put the receipt and the iPod in his coat pocket and walked out the door to the car. He stood around looking at the bleak sky until his grandpa arrived with the groceries and drove them back to the condo.

As Ethan’s grandparent’s prepared dinner; Ethan hid in the bathroom to set up his new device. He connected through the building’s WiFi system and then downloaded an email client app.

Ethan checked his email and saw the message from Tessa’s phone. It read, “Hey Ethan. I miss you already.”

He replied, “I miss you too, but the good news is now I’ve got my iPod Touch if you haven’t already guessed. Now we can keep in contact wherever I have access to WiFi.”

Within seconds the message was forwarded to her phone and she replied to him, “That is wonderful.”

Ethan asked her, “How did your mom react to the whole situation?”

“She is furious at the school for how they are handling the situation. She is even angrier at those boys. She wants to press charges on them.” Tessa continued “And she is still leery of you but wants to meet you. How did your parents react?”

Ethan answered, “My mom was highly ticked off, but my dad was almost completely cool about it. I was grounded from my phone and netbook, but neither of them knows that I am talking to you now.”

Tessa asked, “Well, how are you getting WiFi access?”

Ethan typed back, “I’ve been banished to my grandparent’s condo, and there is free WiFi throughout the whole building. I can keep the iPod touch in my pocket where it will be covert.”

Tessa typed back, “You are so sneaky, but I think it’s cute. Not to mention it shows how devoted you are to me. I am so turned on right now.”

Ethan’s heart skipped a beat as he typed back to her, “You are worth every bit of this drama and more. Just know, that I want you; come hell or high water.”

Tessa replied, “I wish you could be in my arms right now, Ethan.”

He replied, “I don’t know exactly when that will be but you are worth the wait.”

Tessa, flushed with happiness typed in reply, “I think I love you, Ethan. I’ve always wanted someone special; now I have found you. And just for the record, you are much more than special! How do you feel?”

Ethan instantly replied, “It was love at first sight. I’ve had feelings for you since I first laid eyes upon you. I would have told you sooner but I was afraid of scaring you off. Yes, I do love you too, Tessa.”

She then replied with happiness that their feelings were mutual, “You don’t scare me off at all.”

There was a knock at the bathroom door and Ethan shouted, “Occupied.”

His grandfather replied, “Hey, hurry up I have to use the tur-let.”

Quickly Ethan typed to Tessa, “I have to go now, but I’ll be back later.”

Hiding the iPod touch in his coat pocket he walked into the living room where his grandma was switching between the cable news channels.

He sat down on the convertible sofa when his grandmother asked, “Would you like to sleep there tonight?” Ethan nodded and his grandmother continued, “You can watch TV or listen to the music on low while your grandfather and I sleep.” Ethan nodded trying to hide his happiness as he realized fate continued to be on his side.

In a short spell dinner consisting of smothered cabbage with bacon over rice was cooked and then served. When dinner was over, the dishes and cookware were put in the dishwasher. Ethan’s grandparents went back to watching television. A local news report was showing how a group of thugs had robbed and beaten a tourist.

Ethan’s grandpa commented, “They should make an example of that trash and hang them from that old bridge over the freight canal.”

Quickly and covertly, Ethan messaged Tessa through his iPod touch, “As soon as my grandparents fall asleep; I will be able to talk to you again.”

A few seconds went by when Tessa replied, “All right I cannot wait until then.”

Ethan waited anxiously for his grandparents to go to bed.

Finally, eleven pm struck and Ethan’s grandfather said, “Well your grandmother and I are going to bed. Roll out the convertible sofa and get some sleep.”

His grandmother added in, “That’s right, you need to keep a structured schedule.”

Indeed fate was on Ethan’s side, as his grandparents went to their bedroom to sleep.

Ethan lay there typing on his iPod Touch, under the covers, “Hey, we can talk now,” He then typed another message, “I am so sorry that I made you wait so long, it is just I did not want to arouse suspicion from my grandparents.”

A few minutes passed by until Ethan received a reply from Tessa, “I think of you constantly, you are the love of my life, Ethan. I cannot wait until we can be together all the time. I hope it won’t be much longer until I am in your arms. But until then feel free to message me anytime you possibly can, I will understand.”

Lovingly and nervously Ethan replied, “Wow, no one has ever been that patient with me.”

Tessa replied, “Well; no one has ever so kind to me as you have.”

Ethan then typed, “Tessa, I want you to know that I love you and I wish I could express that feeling to you physically. I want to hold you, kiss you, and touch you all with deep affections.”

Tessa typed back to Ethan, “I know, I know. I want you to do those things and more.”

There was a pause then, they simultaneously wrote, “I love you” to each other.

Both were filled with bliss when they read each other’s messages.

There was a brief silence, then Tessa asked “What are you doing tomorrow?”

Ethan then replied, “I haven’t planned anything as I have to stay at my grandparents’ condo.”

Tessa then asked, “Could I come over there? Would they allow me there?”

She sent another message, “I want to see you again.”

Ethan answered, “I want to see you too Tessa. The only thing is that I doubt my grandparents would let us stay together at their place, even though they disagree with the whole situation.”

Sadly Tessa replied, “Right, I understand :-(”

They began to once again express their affections to each other for a short spell. Then, suddenly, an idea hit Ethan like a high-speed train.

He quickly typed, “There is a playground on the grounds of the complex. We could hang out there all day tomorrow. Is there any way you can get there?”

The wheels of fate were turning even more in their favor when Tessa said “I live near the city bus route, and I also have a bus pass. I can leave early in the morning, my mom also leaves for work even earlier. Send me the address of the complex and I will program into my phone’s navigation system.”

Ethan sent the address and she typed back, “This is so awesome.”

Tessa replied, “Well let us get some sleep so we can be together tomorrow. I hope to be holding you in my dreams tonight and I love you, Ethan.”

Ethan replied, “I love you too, and I am longing for tomorrow.”

Before signing off, Tessa typed, “I pray that our dreams of each other will keep us warm all night through.”

They both went to sleep even happier and more in love.

Back to “iAffection”

iAffection Part One

PART ONE (MONDAY):

January 2009.

On a cold and dreary winter morning, the second semester was beginning at Pope Innocent IV Roman Catholic High School. Junior Ethan Mays was sitting in complete boredom. He was covertly reading text messages on his cell phone, while the assignments and instructions were being handed out. The messages consisted of freeze warnings. Ethan was a tall and pale seventeen-year-old, with wavy blonde hair. Most of the time, he was a kind and genuine person. He came from a well off family and had almost everything he wanted-except the love of a girl. This was due to him not desiring one of those rich spoiled girls, as he wanted someone sweet and genuine. Yet, somehow, he did not attract the less fortunate either, because all of them assumed him to be “too privileged.”

Until now:

Suddenly the door to the classroom opened and in stepped a very beautiful girl. Ethan’s eyes were fixated on her immediately. As she walked into the room and was assigned the seat in front of Ethan. This seemed as if it was part of fate’s course, and Ethan was ready to take the opportunity.

The teacher spoke, very cut and dry, announced “Class, we have a new student.” The teacher paused, then continued “Her name is Tessa Behling.” The teacher paused, looked at the girl, and spoke “I expect there to be no problems from you, young lady.”

All was quiet, Ethan simply admired her. The teacher went back to instructions as Tessa took her seat. She stood medium height, had chestnut-colored hair with glasses, and was also pale, like Ethan. She was fifteen years old and very smart. She was so smart that she was skipped a grade ahead. For the most part like Ethan, Tessa was also a kind and genuine person but came from an unfortunate upbringing. She never knew her dad, because he was killed in a freak accident on the job when she was a newborn and her mother worked under the table as a cleaning lady to keep them fed, clothed and sheltered because the survivor’s benefits weren’t enough to live on. Tessa attended this roman catholic school because of a government voucher, as she was very poor. Unbeknownst to school officials, she was given birth control pills through Medicaid. Her mother knew very well that a teenage pregnancy would put a greater strain on their lives. Tessa took her pills faithfully, even though she was still a virgin. Those pills caused her to become pleasantly plump. Even though she was able to have sex without consequence, she still wanted to wait for someone special to come along. Tessa wanted someone kind and devoted to her. That was what she dreamed of. He also had to be someone who would give her much physical affection, but more importantly, someone who would make her feel happy and special.

Little did she realize how soon she would find him:

As the class went on; Ethan found himself strongly attracted to her. Purposely he dropped his ink pen on the floor next to her desk. Tessa picked it up, then handed it to him. When their eyes met face to face, there was an instant spark of mutual attraction.

Ethan simply said, “Thank you.” And then, he winked at her. She smiled back at him from ear to ear. Ethan then thought to himself “She is new here and she seems so sweet. If I try to win her affection, maybe she won’t think of me as a rich and naive spoiled brat.” He couldn’t concentrate. He decided to write a note to her. Carefully he selected the words “Hey, I think you are very beautiful. Please don’t think I am trying to get under your skirt or anything like that. I just would like to get to know you better and I don’t want to scare you off. If you give me a chance, it would make me so happy and I would try my utmost to make you happy as well. PS. My name is Ethan Mays.” He also wrote his phone number down on the paper and handed it to her.

After reading the note Tessa’s eyes lit up as she thought to herself, “Could he possibly be someone special I’ve been waiting for?” She covertly programmed his number into her phone and then decided to reply to his note with “That is very sweet of you. And, yes, I would most definitely like that. You don’t scare me off at all. No one has been so good to me in a long while. Most people harass me about my weight. If you are as sweet as I think you are, I will be more than willing to give you a chance to know me.” She then passed the note back to Ethan, enclosed with her name and her phone number.” Covertly Ethan also programmed her number into his phone. They both hid their phones but continued to exchange their notes. Tessa drew a heart on the paper and wrote “Ethan+Tessa” She handed it to him.

He then drew, “4EVER” in the heart underneath their names. Afterward, he wrote, “How do you feel about that?” Then handed it to her.

Tessa replied, “I am on cloud 9.” The teacher was walking around the classroom in their direction and they quickly hid the notes, but it was too late. They were caught. Immediately the teacher moved Tessa to sit by two jocks; Micah Messer and Fisher Aycock. Both were star athletes and both came from rich contributing families. Needless to say, they got away with anything and everything.

After the class was over, Ethan and Tessa met in the hall. “I am sorry I got us in trouble,” Ethan said, then continued “I did not want that to happen. Now you have to sit by those two jerks.”

Tessa replied, “It is more than worth it. If you would have never passed me that note, we would probably not be talking to each other right now.”

The tardy bell rang so they gently hugged each other and both headed off to class.

As they were walking their separate ways, Tessa said, “Call me tonight!”

Ethan nodded with a wink and a smile. The day went on with them having no other classes together. Both were sad because of being separated but remained cheerful that they had found each other. Slowly the school-day went by. Finally, the dismissal bell rang. They both rushed off the school campus and headed home to call each other. Upon arriving home; Ethan retrieved his cell phone, walked into the backyard, and placed a call to Tessa.

She recognized the number on her screen instantly and answered, “Hey Ethan, I am so happy you remembered to call me.”

Ethan replied, “How could I forget?”

Affectionately they began to flirt on the phone until Ethan finally said “You make me feel so alive and so happy. I just…”

“Go on,” Tessa replied with hopeful and anticipative anxiety.

Ethan continued “I hope that I am not repelling you but…”

Tessa said “No you’re not, keep going,”

Ethan then eventually worked up the courage and said “All right I will put it like this: I think you and I could and should be a couple!”

Tessa was very touched and her heart was fluttering as she said, “Well why don’t you ask me?”

Ethan replied “All right, Tessa Behling, please be mine. Let’s make it official. Will you be my girlfriend!”

Tessa then replied, with ecstasy, “Of course I will because I can tell you have a very good heart! I cannot wait to see you at school tomorrow.”

Both of their hearts were relieved as they finally got what they wanted; to be together. They talked into the night over the phone, with complete infatuation towards each other; until they both went to sleep happier than before.

Back to “iAffection”

A Review of the SwissGear 3918 Backpack

So, just to be clear, I do not own the image that is featured on this page. I retrieved it from Target’s website and am giving all credit to whomever credit is due.

So, as anyone who reads this blog on the regular knows, I do firmly believe in EDC. I have been this way since childhood.

I have employed a backpack as a means to EDC what I want and need to have with me since my early twenties. The brands of backpacks I have owned over the years were either Wenger, Victorinox, or later SwissGear (which is very similar to Wenger.) I am very prejudiced in favor of the Swiss for so many reasons. I just truly admire the people, the government, the products, and the culture of The Swiss Confederation. I am not Swiss myself, at least not that I know of, but I do have mostly French and a considerable amount of German blood flowing through my veins.

I am disappointed to report that my Wenger Origins backpack of which I had recently purchased and wrote a review on a few weeks ago has sustained some damage. When I can locate a competent tailor, I will try to have it repaired. What I think had happened was, a while back, I spent a few nights at a friend’s house and packed too much clothing in the main compartment, which tore the inner lining fabric. This is not the first time a backpack has torn on me, by the way. I was disappointed and slightly ticked because I now needed a new EDC backpack. I was only slightly ticked because of the low price I paid for it. I’ve also learned not to write reviews of products so soon after purchasing them.

In the meantime, on July 13, 2020, I borrowed some cash and took a drive to my local Target to purchase a replacement backpack.

I didn’t go to the luggage section as I usually do, but rather the back to school section, where there were more Swiss backpacks.

I considered a few different SwissGear models but eventually settled on the SA3918 18.5 (or 19) Inch Backpack.

I paid $54.99+tax for it, which ultimately came out to $60 and some change.

Afterward, I ran some other errands, then went home and did some research on my newly purchased backpack.

Not long after, I found out that Target’s Website was selling it for $49.99 but the local store sold it to me for $54.99.

The next day I went back with my receipt and explained this to them. Promptly, the lady at customer service refunded me $5.50 in cash. Kudos to her!

So, at the time of writing this piece, I have owned my new backpack for ten days.

For the most part, I like it.

I say for the most part because, while it is indeed sturdy and fashionable and it does boldly show the Swiss emblem, there are two features it lacks that I wish it had:

I wish there was a dedicated tablet sleeve in addition to the laptop pocket.
AND
I wish there was an extra zipper pouch to store my computer repair tools, as my previous backpacks have had.

But other than that I truly enjoy this backpack and those are just minor flaws.

Speaking of showing off the Swiss emblem which is a white cross against a red background, I see it as a dual purpose:
Not only am I making a statement on how much I admire the Swiss, but since it features a cross, I am also publically identifying myself as a Christian when I carry this backpack with me. If you, the reader, think I am highly prejudiced in favor of the Swiss, let me make it clear that I am infinitely much more prejudiced in favor of Jesus Christ and my fellow brothers and sisters in Him! By the way, my brothers and sisters in Christ come from every nation, color, ethnicity, and race, but we are all purchased by That Precious Blood of Jesus Christ Who is God come in the flesh! I just pray that God will give me the grace and courage to always name the Name of Christ no matter the consequences!

If that wasn’t enough, I do find that this backpack appears to be tactical and fashionable at the same time! That is truly rare to be both, although it is becoming less rare. As an American, I truly appreciate tactical-grade products. I’m not very keen on fashion, I mean I wore a Casio G-Shock to my sister’s wedding, but I know just about anything Swiss will automatically be fashionable. I had previously also written about the comparisons and contrasts of tactical and fashionable a time or two.

By the way, don’t take my word for all of this, here is what Target’s website has to say, “Searching for a modern spin on a classic tactical looking design, this SWISSGEAR 3918 Laptop backpack has exactly what it takes. Fully equipped to take on the battle of the day, this everyday carry backpack has the features you’re looking for.”

Here are some of the features, taken from Target’s website with my added commentary after the hyphen:
Padded laptop compartment with built-in corner hold-down strap designed to carry most 15″ portable computers-I currently keep my tablet in there but hopefully will buy another laptop soon. In front of the laptop is where I keep my Bible and Bible study materials…

Large capacity main compartments designed to carry folders, binders, and books-I carry my scanners, chargers, and reading glasses here.

Organizer compartment with key/clip fob, slip pocket, and multiple divider pockets-I keep my flashlights, multi-tools, USB drives, calculator and weather radio in this section.

Front zippered quick access pocket for more frequently needed items-This is where I keep my masks and medical supplies, and dual exterior side water bottle pockets with reflective pull tabs-I have an insulated bottle which I plan to store in these pockets for hydrating on the go.

Ergonomically contoured, padded shoulder straps with breathable mesh fabric and reflective accent material for added safety-This will keep me cool and visible if ever walking around at night (such as commuting to and from evening church services in the dark.)

Padded, Airflow back panel with mesh fabric for superior back ventilation and support-keeps the electronics reasonably cool even in hot climates., and an integrated add-a-bag trolley strap on back panel to easily glide over carry-on’s telescopic handle-This makes airline, bus, and railroad travel slightly easier.

Not mentioned on Target’s Website but this backpack also features a metal D-ring on the upper side near the top handle. I use this to attach my key lanyard.

Here are some of the physical specifications, also taken from Target’s website:

Dimensions: 18.5 Inches (46.99 Centimeters) High by 14.1 Inches (35.814 Centimeters) Wide by 6.9 Inches (17.526 Centimeters) Deep.
Tare Weight: 1.54 Pounds (0.69853225 Kilograms).
Capacity: 25 Liters (6.604301306 US Gallons or 5.499231207 British Gallons).
It is constructed of what appears to be a durable Polyester.

The recommended user age for this product is 10 years old and up and it comes with a 5 Year Limited Warranty.

Target’s website went on to say this, “At the heart of this bag is an electronics-only compartment complete with a built-in laptop sleeve for superior protection for your portable computer. Featuring a large capacity main compartment large enough to carry books and binders, side water bottle pockets, a breathable ergonomic suspension system and an organizer compartment up front, this bag has what it takes to get your through your day.”

Target seems to be correct on this.

I just hope this backpack will last me at least a couple of years.

All in all, I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. I took off half a star for lack of a tablet pocket and internal small zipper compartment

I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of the SwissGear 3918 Backpack.

Praise God, my back doesn’t hurt as much as usual!

I hope, you, the reader, have been informed and entertained.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

 

 

A Review of the Realistic (Radio Shack®) 12-719 Deluxe AM/FM Radio

Just for the record, I do not own the featured image on this page.

Rather, I cropped it out of the 1987 Radio Shack Catalog.

The two books of which I have the most knowledge are of course The Bible and [most of] The Radio Shack Catalogs.

Unfortunately, I know the latter much better than the former.

Well, from 2001 until most of their stores were shut down, I was a very loyal patron to Radio Shack.

I witnessed their very last days of true glory before they became just a glorified mobile phone store and therefore put all other electronics on the back burner.

That, I believe, is what killed them, honestly.

Well, using cheaper components in their products was also a factor.

In 2014, there was an attempt to restore Radio Shack to its 1980s glory, but it never was fully realized. Too little, too late.

So, as of the past several years, eBay is my go-to “retailer” for just about any vintage or discontinued product my heart may desire.

eBay, by the way, is amazing because I can usually find what I am looking for and many times in fairly decent condition, sometimes even mint!

I own several AM/FM receivers that came off the assembly line from the 1980s to the present. I also own quite a few Weather Radios with production dates ranging from the 1970s to the 2010s. And I have some scanners dating from the late 1980s to the mid to late 2010s.

This piece will be about a pocket-sized AM/FM radio, sold at Radio Shack from the latter parts of 1986 until some point in 1992. It was first seen in the 1987 Radio Shack catalog. The model number is 12-719.

Mine is not exactly the same as the one pictured in this featured image.

How do I know this?

Well, the unit featured in the 1987 Radio Shack catalog features an AM frequency range of 53*10 KHz to 160*10 KHz.

However, my particular unit which according to the sticker behind the battery door was made in January of 1991 and it features an AM frequency range of 53*10 KHz to 171*10 KHz.

What strikes me as odd, though, is that I thought the AM (or Medium Wave) band in the United States was not expanded to 171*10 KHz AKA 1710 KHz AKA 1.71 MHz until 1993. At the time, I was too young to know the difference nor did anyone around me care about such a thing anyway. My family on both sides is very technology ignorant, unfortunately. Some family members of mine are even downright hostile to technology. The only immediate family member of mine that was as keen on technology as I am was my Maternal Grandpa, Hughie Gauslin, but he died almost 29 years before I was born. I’ll just say that he would have seen some wonderful things had he lived to be an old man. So, if anyone is willing to inform me about this AM broadcast Band Expansion of the early 1990s, I am well open for correction and/or enlightenment…

All in all, I had purchased this particular radio on eBay in the latter parts of 2019, mostly as a sentimental collector’s item.

However, I have found an everyday use for it, hence my desire to write this review.

I’ll explain:

I moved to my current residence in May of 2018.

Since the Spring of 2017, I had been listening to NPR on and off, usually tuning in All Things Considered while doing laundry. I would go to an ex-in-law of my now ex-in-laws’ house where my now ex-wife and I would use his equipment to wash and dry our laundry. In turn, we would cook a meal for him and, also, I would do shopping for stuff he needed. There was a Dollar General near his house, of which I would frequent to purchase groceries and supplies. It was on one of these laundry days in 2017, that I thought about my joke in which I started referring to Dollar General is “Ruble General.” My basis for that statement was that shopping at Dollar General must have been what shopping in the Soviet Union was like. Multiple sources present in detail the product shortages, long lines, and sub par merchandise. The official currency of the USSR was the Soviet Ruble. When not operating the laundry appliances or cooking, my now ex wife would watch television with his kids or play on her phone. I, on the other hand, when not shopping or folding the laundry was sitting on the back porch, listening to NPR on a small Sylvania boom box that had previously belonged to his recently deceased daughter. She was, in fact, the fellow aspiring writer whose untimely death provoked my desire to launch this very blog! While I do watch broadcast television now and then, I detest what subscription-based television has devolved into. Therefore, I neither subscribe to any television service or streaming service (mostly because of my low-speed home Internet connection) and therefore, only use an antenna. Usually, though, I am either listening to a scanner of some sort or NPR. Even NPR irritates me when they become biased in their reporting and especially their editorials and commentary. NPR is supposed to serve the entire US population, not just certain political factions, whichever they may be. Maybe, if they were more neutral, they could attract more listeners and therefore could have more revenue to budget with. Yes, I do listen to NPR for the news, sometimes at least, but I take it with a grain of salt. As a Christian, I am convicted when they start with their dissenting of the current administration and I continue listening. So much so, that one Wednesday Evening in February of 2020, I was listening to “All Things Considered” afterward I had walked to my church and was sitting outside waiting for the Pastor to arrive for the evening’s prayer meeting and Bible study. I was reading my Bible and came across Proverbs 31:3 which clearly states, “Don’t spend your energy on women or your efforts on those who destroy kings.” The Bible was written during a time when the only heads of state were indeed royalty, namely kings or queens. However, NPR like many other media entities is trying to destroy the current American head of state, even though he’s a president, not a king. I will go as far as to say that God has even the most oppressive rulers in power for a reason unbeknownst to me and that all government was designed by God to deter wickedness. If the private media wants to dissent, that’s their choice but public radio which is supposed to serve every American ought not to do it and God’s Word commands me to avoid them because of that. This can be a difficult command at times because I appreciate NPR much more for their content which covers the disciplines of technology, culture (especially the culinary aspect), and medicine rather than their political dissent or sometimes biased reporting. It is definitely of a much higher caliber than most of what is available on pay television, yet it’s free. And not only that, if I listen to NPR enough, my writing will be enhanced. Well, I was listening to it a few hours ago and I’d like to think this piece is well written.

So, yes NPR is heard primarily on the lower portion of the FM broadcast band, but you, the reader are probably asking, “What does it have to do with the review of a vintage radio receiver other than the fact that it can receive FM broadcasts?”

I’m glad you, the reader, asked, or at least, I assume you’re asking.

Remember how I briefly mentioned that I moved to my current residence in May of 2018?

I do enjoy living there for the most part.

I get along fine with the overwhelming majority of my neighbors, it’s relatively peaceful and safe, I am within walking distance to my church and a few retailers, just a short drive away from other retailers, medical care and family members. My one complaint is that my FM radio reception is terrible due to my residence being located in close proximity to an FM broadcast transmitter facility. This means that the signal from that transmitter bleeds all across the dials on most of my FM radio receivers.

Listening to NPR is impossible, even though the NPR transmitter tower I of which I receive the signal from is only a few more miles away as the crow flies.

There are, however, the radios in my possession which are pretty much immune to these ill-effects:

My car radio.
My kitchen radio, of which I had written a review of almost two years ago.
And the one I am currently reviewing in this piece.

The first two have high-quality frequency synthesizers that can filter out the overbearing nearby transmissions.

However, this radio I am reviewing features an AFC or Automatic Frequency Control circuit which enables it to lock on the desired frequency and reject all other frequencies no matter how close the offending transmitter is.

Therefore, because of its portability and rugged enough design, I can take this radio, a Realistic 12-719, anywhere in my residence and even outside and still hear most FM broadcasts within reason. I don’t have to be tied to my kitchen or my car. I also can sit in my bedroom and listen without needing the kitchen radio to be on so gosh durn loud and disturbing my neighbors.

I forget exactly how much I paid for it in late 2019, but it retailed for $19.95 throughout its run. That would be the equivalent of $36.66 (1992)-$46.93 (1986) in terms of 2020 Dollars.

This product was a success for Radio Shack, being in production as long as it was. Furthermore, there are plenty of them that show up on eBay still in good condition both cosmetically and performance-wise. Mine works better than just about all of my modern radios in a similar, modern equivalent form factor.

It was considered the deluxe model of all pocket portable AM/FM radios sold by Radio Shack during the time.

Some of the features include:
Aluminum Trim-Makes the cabinet reasonably rugged.
Built-in AFC-FM-This feature alone is why I am still using it in 2020!
Hi/Lo Tone Selector Switch-Lo for News and Talk, Hi for Music.
Rotary Tuning and Volume Controls-Self explanatory, but the Rotary Tuner is considerably accurate. The volume control needs to be dusted out, but that can be chalked up to its age of almost 30 years at the time of writing this!
Telescoping FM Antenna-I would rather a wire antenna because such an antenna is miserably flimsy, but it does pull in the FM signals generously!
A Monoaural Earphone Jack-Good enough for everyone except a die-hard audiophile.
2.25 Inch Speaker-Large enough to provide decent audio, yet small enough to be compact, at least to some degree I mean it was the 1980s and early 1990s.
The physical dimensions are: 5.1875 Inches High by 3.5 Inches Wide by 1.25 Inches Deep-Not as carrying friendly as modern standards dictate but semiconductors and other components weren’t as discrete as they are now.
Its power supply was a standard 9 Volt Battery-Most pocket portable radios of today are powered by AA or AAA batteries, but from the late 1950s until the very early 1990s 9 Volt batteries were the power supply of choice for many pocket-portable radios.
The frequency coverage was roughly 88 MHz to 108 MHz on FM and, depending on the year it was manufactured, 530 KHz to either 1600 KHz or 1710 KHz on AM.
For those of you who are curious, it was manufactured in The Phillippines to Radio Shack’s custom standards-As of the late 2010s there seems to have been a resurgence of manufacturing in that country but I don’t think it is up to what it was in the 1980s, 1990s, and very early 2000s.

Unless I want to receive broadcasts in stereo or high definition, this radio is still useful in 2020 and hopefully will still be useful for decades to come.

The audio quality is superb, especially considering that it is a mere pocket portable.

It beats most of my other radios because I can get NPR and any other FM broadcast without interference. AM performance is fairly decent as well. Before discovering NPR in 2017, I was more of an AM DXer. Talk radio, particularly on the AM band was wonderful in New Orleans until a very wicked woman named Katrina did her wicked works.

I have to quit now because my back hurts.

So this, therefore, concludes my review of the Radio Shack 12-719 Deluxe AM/FM Radio.

I hope you, the reader, have been informed and entertained.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

My Current Situation according to my Narrative

This is my current situation as told according to my narrative.

It may be accurate, like it may be inaccurate. It may be both in varying degrees.

By the way, a handful of others familiar with my current situation will agree with this narrative.

Without further ado, here it is:

I believe some people who know me or at least know of me and they don’t want me to be happy. Most of these people are likely from my past, but a few are also in my present.

I had suspected this for some time, but a friend recently pointed it out to me that there are a lot of people who do not want me to be happy.

They are quite large in numbers and they all have their reasons, of which I will attempt to list:

If the ones from my past don’t want me to be happy, it’s because I must have done something to make them angry with me. When they see blessings and joy come into my life, they were infuriated. Some of these people date back to my childhood. I know I was opinionated and didn’t exactly fit in with the rest, as a child, but maybe I am a more unique individual as a result of this. Not only that, as a child I was prideful and flaunted my intelligence. It would be crazy to think that those from my childhood did not let go of their hatred for me, especially since I have not seen some of them in almost twenty years.

Some of the people from my more recent past don’t want me to be happy because of the content of what I write and how it conflicts with everything or at least some things they stand for. I’m told quite frequently how eloquent of a writer I am, so I guess I am gifted with getting my point across accurately with the written word. And, anyone who disagrees with my content would naturally feel threatened by this. The First Amendment protects my freedom of speech and expression, among other things, so they aren’t able to directly silence me, therefore, they resent me. When they see me experiencing joy and pleasure, they are overcome with contempt for me.

Another handful of people both in my past and present don’t want to see me happy because I do indeed get a disability pension while they go to work or worked most of their life. Automatically, most of them believe that anyone who is less than them materially or financially or simply doesn’t work as hard as they do/did doesn’t deserve to be any happier than they are, and yes, many of them are downright miserable. So seeing me happy makes them see red. While I am frequently negatively portraying these types of people in my writing, I do truly feel sorry for them, unlike the rest.

The final group of people who don’t want to see me happy is the ones who are opposed to my Faith in Jesus Christ. Let’s face it Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh and is tremendously polarizing. You either love Him with all that you’ve got or you hate Him with a passion. Those that are indifferent won’t be that way once they get to know of Him. There are many more who will hate Him than love Him because, among other things, He exposes everyone’s wickedness. Human beings are wicked but they hate it when their wickedness is proven to themselves much less to others. Yes, Jesus Christ exposes every bit of wickedness, but He is willing and able to pardon us of all that wickedness if we put our faith in Him. He paid a very dear price to accomplish this but the price is paid in full! Those who have had their wickedness pardoned by Him can’t help but love Him and yes I with them want to fall prostrate at His feet and worship Him with every fiber of my being! God be praised in Jesus’ Name! I pray that I will always submit and confess when Christ exposes the wickedness in my life. But the fact remains that He is my Lord and if they hate Him, they will automatically hate me. Many see all that I am blessed with and they are angered because it was all due to God’s unearned favor. But they are too prideful to come to Christ themselves.

There are also wicked beings in the spiritual realm who do not want me to be happy and they are the ones who carry out various attacks and hindrances on me. They are also activated by the resentment of my happiness from those four aforementioned groups of people. They are energized by the strife and their constant efforts are to propagate this strife everywhere to oppress humanity. Not to mention, they are angered more than anyone else by my Faith in Jesus Christ. The fact that I have been eternally redeemed despite all of my sins and shortcomings yet they cannot be redeemed no matter what elevates their anger to degrees far beyond what mortal man is capable of. That anger combined with the anger from the others is what fuels all these attacks and hindrances in my life.

I’m not sure whether or not even God my Heavenly Father wants me to be happy. Nowhere in the Bible is happiness ever promised. I know God wants me to be holy and expects me to be content in all situations because of what He gave me eternally. For the most part, I am content. Although, if my happiness is derived from godly sources, I know He is rejoicing with me!

I am still happy though, despite all of this, but I could be much happier. I know the one thing that would indeed make me happier, but it seems to be perpetually out of my reach. I believe it is held over my head and out of my reach by the wicked activities of demons in the spiritual realm, fueled by their hatred and the other people’s hatred of me. God allows this for whatever reason but I believe one day, though, He will intervene on my behalf and it will be at the perfect time. By the way, what I am desiring is both carnal and spiritual simultaneously. For a year and some months, I had such happiness but it was abruptly removed a few months ago. However, the whole ordeal has brought me closer to my God. I fervently pray that God restores that level of happiness in my life but only in such a way that glorifies Him! The previous source of happiness only glorified God to a slight degree and many times was instead a form of idolatry. There were other factors and ultimately I see how God allowed it to be removed from me for my protection.

There are other sources for my happiness, though, such as helping others whenever I can, especially helping my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Just going to church and fellowshipping with my brothers and sisters in Christ is a major source of happiness for me in and of itself. Another source of my happiness is the pleasure I get when I write something and I make all of my readers feel and think. This is especially true when I write a love story and I provoke all sorts of wonderful emotions from my readers. And even better, when I can cause my readers to feel what I am feeling, mission accomplished is all I can say! Those sources of happiness come from either God or within myself and it would be nearly impossible to be taken away. Of course, I am ashamed to admit that some material objects in my possession also provide a source of happiness, because they either supplement my hobbies or help me to be prepared. If not for anything else, they help meet my earthly needs. And not only that, they are definite reminders of how my God has blessed me immensely!

So, while many do not want me to be happy, they’re only able to take it so far, really only as far as God allows them to. Maybe God allows it to the degree He does as a form of correction upon me, after all, He corrects those whom He loves. But when God will be done correcting me, I know He has even more blessings in store for me and as long as I abide in Him, those blessings will remain. Of course, my goal must need be to abide in Him regardless, blessings, or no blessings!

You may believe this like you may not, but I feel it is true and parts of it I can back up with The Bible.

However, I will wholeheartedly admit that some is just my speculation.

Still, I think you, the reader, can see the validity and genuine nature of this piece.

I hope there is something to be learned from it.

That is all.

Thank you for reading and if you are a Christian, please consider praying for me, because I covet your prayers.

May God richly bless you!

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I EDC a Calculator in addition to a Flashlight

Since infancy, I have been highly fascinated by both flashlights and calculators.

Anyone who knows me well enough is already pretty much aware of this.

Because I feel the need to be perpetually prepared, I always carry a flashlight on my person.

Because I think they are cool and useful, I also always carry a calculator in my EDC backpack or on my person.

I didn’t carry both a flashlight and calculator permanently together until late 2012 when I was 25 going on 26.

The combination was a Xenon Mini Maglite painted blue paired with a TI Math Explorer. These are now stored in my tool satchel.

Fast forward to June of 2014, I started carrying a Xenon Mini Maglite painted black with a TI-36 X Pro.

Then in 2019, I would sometimes carry a TI-34 MultiView with either a Mini Maglite or a Streamlight Jr. or both.

In the featured image is my NiteCote i400R paired with a Casio fx-300ES PLUS, which I began carrying in the late Spring of 2020.

The first time I carried a calculator was in early 1995 at the age of 8. It was a Casio fx-991 of some kind that my Mom had gotten from one of her students. But I didn’t pair it with any flashlight.

Then in October of 1996, I purchased a Tiger Electronics Data Pad which was a toy electronic organizer. Sometimes I would pair it with a Brinkmann flashlight of which, I cannot find any data on. I didn’t carry both of them together that often and they eventually gave out.

In December of 1997, I briefly carried a Royal scientific calculator but I don’t remember the model number. It was another hand me down from my Mom’s students. I didn’t have a decent pocket-sized flashlight to pair it with.

In the sommer of 1998 at the age of 11.5, I purchase what would become my favorite flashlight until I discovered the tactical models, a Garrity Mini Rugged Lite, yellow in color. Also around this time, my Mom had purchased a value pack of LeWorld brand calculators and I tool the smallest one. it was very compact, maybe the length and width of a bank card, but vertical instead of horizontal. I don’t remember the model number, but if I ever see it on eBay, I’ll purchase it. Anyway, during this summer, my Dad was teaching Special Ed Summer School and was stationed at The School for Exceptional Children in East Houma, Louisiana. Both Special Ed and Regular Ed children were attending. I would tutor some of these kids and would usually wear a pair of Navy Blue shorts, but that recently aforementioned flashlight and calculator in each pocket. It was for checking their math problems but also keeping scores on their worksheets they were assigned. I felt pretty important being only 11.5 yet tutoring kids. One of these days in the Summer of 1998, I was shopping while carrying this flashlight and calculator at one of the Rouse’s Supermarkets in East Houma. While I have a photographic memory, I cannot remember if it was the one on East Park or the one on Grand Calliou Road. All in all, I always liked shopping at Rouse’s.

Then after this, I didn’t carry a calculator for about two years, unless for school. I would still carry a flashlight now and then but would be harassed for doing so.

In January or February of 2000, at the age of 13, I purchased a Value pack of Rayovac Industrial flashlights, a 2 AA, and a 2 D model bundled together for like $8.99. I carried the 2 AA model until it was misplaced. I still have the 2 D model.

In July of 2000, I was shopping for school supplies with my Mom and she purchased me a TI-30 X IIS, the 1999 edition. I carried it at home and school, sometimes with either the aforementioned Garrity or Rayovac flashlights.

In August or September of 2001, I misplaced that Garrity flashlight and quit carrying flashlights for a while. I was more interested in carrying communications equipment instead. I only carried calculators with my school supplies, although the groundskeeper Mister Don Ratcliff, God rest his soul, shared an interest in calculators among other things with me and he always wanted to see my calculator. This trend of not carrying flashlights would continue until 2005, although in late 2003 and early 2004 I would sometimes carry some very budget-friendly flashlights, namely an Energizer Super Charge and a Lumilite Industrial 2 AA, respectively.

On May 5, 2005, I began to carry a flashlight permanently. I have since been through a plethora of different models, but now in 2020, I’m either carrying a NiteCore i4000R or a Streamlight Jr. LED.

In the Summer of 2006, I began carrying a 2 AAA Mini Maglite, which is the smaller Mini Maglite, on and off.

In the Summer of 2007, I was carrying that previously aforementioned flashlight more often and paired it with a neat LeWorld calculator that was solar-powered and had a greenish segmented LCD instead of the plain black and white segmented LCD I was used to. The iPhone came on the market around this time and I remember saying as I would pull that calculator out of my pocket, “Wait, I have an iPhone too…This is my iPhone!” Well, it did slightly resemble an iPhone or at least I thought so. I misplaced it around 2015 but I wish I knew the model number so I could get another one on eBay.

In December of 2007, I purchased a TI-89 on clearance at Radio Shack and I did carry it on me at times until I sold it in the Summer of 2009. There were several flashlights I had paired it with.

In the Summer of 2008, I was required to use a TI-84 for school, because a TI-89 was forbidden. I flunked that class anyway, twice actually, which was the equivalent of college algebra 101. I’m very deficient in Algebra hence the reason I can repair computers but not program them.

From November 2008 to September 2011, I was working, at least most of that period and didn’t think much about calculators, although I did carry a very basic Texas Instruments model on some of those jobs. At one job, in the Spring of 2009, I was selling shoe molding to a customer and pulled out that calculator to make a precision cut of however many linear feet. He ended up tipping me $10 when he saw me pull out the calculator, not bad since I was making only $8.50 an hour! He commented on how I was the smartest one. Not to blow my own horn, but maybe I was. I know I was overqualified for that job, but hey, it was 2009, all jobs much less good jobs were scarce. I think the fact that I was overqualified was what got me laid off months later. All in all, I had carried that calculator with one of my Mini Maglites or an Energizer 3 Watt Tactical flashlight and a Klein pocket knife. In January of 2010, I acquired a job as a grocer and while I could have used a calculator, I never really carried one save the cheap company-issued units. When I was given the dairy clerk job for that grocery company, I did all of my figurings with pen and paper. There is indeed a calculator made by Casio that is designed for retail and warehousing, but it isn’t readily available in The States. That’s a big mistake on Casio’s part if you ask me. I did always have a flashlight on me at that job and anywhere else. My coworkers took note of it and some even gave me flashlights. In September of 2011, I quit due to drastically reduced hours. I haven’t been employed since.

In 2012, I was frequently helping family, friends, and now ex-in-laws with various do-it-yourself projects. I soon realized a calculator that could do a quick and easy fraction to decimal conversion would be quite helpful. I knew a TI-Math Explorer would fit the bill, so in November of that year, I search on eBay and found one in near-mint condition for $6.99 and free shipping. I had just enough in my checking account to purchase it, so I did. It has indeed helped with many do-it-yourself projects. This was the beginning of me permanently carrying a calculator as well as a flashlight.

I now have a calculator of two in my EDC backpack as well as a few flashlights for whatever situation should arise. They have come in handy quite often and yes I do show off sometimes.

As long as I can help it, I plan to carry a flashlight and a calculator for the rest of my life.

I’m no longer harassed for carrying flashlights but now and then I am still harassed for carrying calculators. However, I frankly don’t give a durn at all.

By the way, there are different ways people pronounce the word calculator and I usually get a big kick out of it. Most say it the normal way, but some say “cack-you-later” and others say “cackle-ater.”

There’s even a rap song about calculators and it is pronounced the first different way.

It always made me laugh hearing that, for so many reasons, even though there is a lot of filthy language in it.

All in all, I guess this concludes my piece about how I carry a calculator in addition to a flashlight.

My back is killing me and not only that, I have to go check on my laundry.

I hope you, the reader, have been informed as well as entertained, and may God richly bless you!

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Addressing the Offensive Language used on VHF Marine Communications

There are two types of traffic that I listen to on my scanners more than anything else and they are:

Railroad

AND

Marine…

I get it, the majority of scanner listeners use their equipment to listen in on law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical traffic.

That’s also what the general public associates with scanners and those who use them.

Of the two, I listen to marine traffic much more often due to my geographic location.

Usually, I can only hear the dispatch towers of railroads on most days and nights unless the other associated signals are being propagated further.

However, I am only a few miles from several navigable waterways and can hear a good bit of marine traffic occurring on there.

Listening to marine traffic helps me know what passes through my area on boats and barges, and also gives me a heads up of when such watercraft are approaching in the case of me wanting to photograph or record their passage. When I am alone in my residence, these voices on my scanner keep me company. So listening to marine traffic is good clean fun for me and keeps me out of trouble. To a degree, it even helps me maintain my sanity.

I do have only one complaint about listening to marine traffic and it is:

I wish the personnel of these boat and barge crews would be mindful of the language they use over the radio.

Many times, it confirms the very intensity of the phrase “cuss like a sailor.”

Technically, it is illegal to use such vulgarity over the radio, but seldom enforced and actually, I’ve never seen this law enforced first hand.

I don’t see such filthy language used in railroad communications, or at least not first hand. That’s likely because the majority of railroad traffic is recorded.

The only other times I heard vulgar language used over the radio was in my teen years when a Houma City Policeman who was in a foot pursuit of a suspect and of course I’ve heard it all the time on CB and FRS.

The current racial tension going on in America right now is what prompted me to write this piece, though it has been on my mind for nearly four years.

And I will explain why too:

One day, in the Summer of 2016, my then-wife, now ex-wife, was working on an arts and crafts project at the Bayou Blue, Louisiana Library. I would usually sit on the computers there and either write or do my research. On that day, I had completed whatever writing or research projects I had wanted to accomplish, so I went for a walk at the track which is situated behind the library. I walked beyond the track and onto the levee of The Hollywood Canal. That location is in proximity to The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, so I had my portable scanner, a Uniden BC72XLT, and was scanning several VHF Marine channels with it. Standing on the levee about one hundred feet from me was a black lady, who was fishing in The Hollywood Canal. She was focused on catching fish, maybe for her Sunday dinner, and didn’t even notice me. About that time either a captain or a deckhand came over the radio and was repeatedly saying the n-word. My scanner picked it up loud and clear and I had it at full volume. Hurriedly, though, I shut it off. I don’t know whether or not that black lady heard my scanner or not. If she did, she didn’t make any trouble with me about it. My biggest fear was that she would see that the radio I was carrying was indeed a scanner and then assume that I was listening to law enforcement. I was ready to explain to her that this particular scanner I am using is not capable of picking up any law enforcement traffic in this area, save a few private security firms. Afterward, I went walk on the levee of The Hollywood Canal in the opposite direction of that lady. I don’t remember if I turned my scanner back on or not. In the following days, I remember telling everyone I know who works in marine logistics to watch their language that they use over the radio because they never know who is listening or in earshot. Imagine if that black lady would have raised ten kinds of hell and said how she had heard what she assumed was the cops using the n-word over their radios. Thank God, she likely didn’t even hear my scanner, but if I was any nearer she would have indeed heard it. God only knows what would have happened then because racial tension was pretty high in 2016. Of course, racial tension is once again at its boiling point here in 2020.

I can think of numerous other occasions where maritime workers use other filthy or offensive words over the radio.

One of my hobbies, as I’ve said before is to watch marine traffic as it passes by on waterways. My scanners greatly enhance that hobby.

But when I am in a public area, such as the Houma City Docks, I have to be constantly on alert if certain people are nearby because of the language that some of these maritime workers use. I wish these workers would watch their mouths when talking over the radio for that very reason.

I strive to be a gentleman and one of the things about being a gentleman is to not use foul language in the presence of women.

I try my best not to use it at all, but I slip up either when I am by myself or around worldly men. Another time I fail to preserve my prim and proper speech is when I have work or research that needs to be done and I have to fight with a slow Internet connection.

So, technically, it is none of my business what is being said on those radios, because I do not work in the maritime transportation industry at all.

However, it is a federal crime to use vulgar language over any radio channel, and also in many jurisdictions, it is considered a crime to use vulgar language in the presence of women or children. And calling a person a slur word denoting or connoting their racial or ethnic heritage is sometimes an arrestable offense as well. There are plenty of women children and people from very diverse backgrounds that frequent the city docks either for fishing, exercise or to play on the nearby playground equipment. It SHOULD be pleasant, but if any inappropriate language is heard, it can get very unpleasant and very fast.

I get it, by this point I probably seem like a prude with too much time on his hands.

Call me that if you wish, I don’t care. I’ve been called much worse.

I just wish those in the maritime industry would keep the filth off the radio because they never know who is within listening range.

I stand by my belief that a gentleman ought not to use any crude language in the presence of a woman.

It’s also wrong to use vulgar language in the presence of a child, even though most children will likely giggle a whole lot when exposed to such language.

Before 2018, I used all sorts of bad language. But then the Good Lord got a hold of me and told me how I needed to clean up that area of my life.

I’ll probably just be told to shut my scanner off if I don’t want to expose myself or others to such filth and that is likely what I will do.

But wouldn’t it be nice if I could have the scanner radio on and not have to worry about offending or upsetting those around me?

Let me make it very clear right now that I don’t want to get anyone in trouble because I know that those people who work in marine logistics are very hard-working individuals who have to be away from their loved ones for days, sometimes weeks on end, just to pay their bills and support their families. I greatly appreciate what they do. I think what they do is also very cool. I would love to do it myself if it weren’t for several medical conditions of which I am afflicted. If my words are properly heeded, trouble will be prevented, not caused.

I am not trying to start any sort of fight, but rather just give a friendly but firm reminder that offensive language ought not to occupy the airwaves.

Picture if you will you are speaking in front of a group of school children Kindergarten through High School from every different background there is, but not only that how about some church ladies as well and not just them your mother and your grandmothers and your pastor’s wife and if that’s not enough, imagine you will be meeting the family of your spouse or significant other for the first time. Think of how you ought to speak for that very situation with all those aforementioned people and then you would realize that is how you ought to speak on the airwaves.

How you talk to your coworkers amongst yourselves is none of my business and I frankly don’t care.

But those radios you talk on have a transmission range much further than you think and what you say on them is heard by many more than just the other party, so please, be very mindful of what you say on there.

Again, my motives behind this are very clean. I don’t want anyone to get in trouble for any reason and it’s not my job to report any of you, nor do I have any desire to. However, I would like to be able to have my scanner turned on in a public place and not have to worry about what will be heard by those in earshot.

Thank you all for what you do and I hope this post will be peacefully considered.

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